The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) yesterday announced preparedness to ensure standardisation in the issuance of licences to categories D and F drivers in a bid to reduce the carnage on the roads across the country.
The DVLA explained that these classes of drivers handled heavy-goods vehicles and buses carrying up to 65 passengers and with a minimum weight of 35,000kgs.
The Authority thus certified its first batch of 50 heavy-goods vehicles (HGV) driving examiners to ensure that testing and certification of drivers within the two categories worked in line with acceptable standards.
At a brief graduation ceremony in Accra yesterday, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DVLA, Kwasi Agyeman Busia, said the move was part of critical reforms and interventions being introduced by the Authority to address road safety issues, which are at the core of its mandate.
He mentioned reforms in areas of eye testing; to ensure that only drivers with medically-certified good vision were licensed; translation of the computer-based test into six Ghanaian languages; issuance of commercial licence; and a review of training curricula for driving schools in compliance with international best practices.
The CEO indicated that the art of driving required the right competency, skills and professionalism in order not to cause harm to drivers, passengers and other road users.
He gave damning statistics which pointed out that in the last few years, at least six people were killed each day through road accidents in Ghana with over 2,000 lives lost in a year.
“Sadly, the latest incidents only two days ago, at Asuboi and other places, join the long list of many unfortunate deaths and for this weekend alone we paid the dear price of 17 deaths.”
Mr Busia mentioned some causes of these fatalities to include driver inattentiveness, high speed, wrongful overtaking, driving under influence of drugs or alcohol, fatigue and general indiscipline.
He, therefore, implored the examiners to use their upgraded knowledge and skills to “help tame this turmoil for the benefit of our country and help create a new normal of an evolved and focused driver; a courteous, compliant and safety-minded road transport operator.”
“Yours is a call to duty to help with commerce and to do it well to protect and save lives,” he said.
The Director in charge of Training, Testing and Licensing at DVLA, Kafui Semevo, explained that the HGV examiners, having undergone a four-week training course, were authorised to perform that function for four years after which they would be re-assessed.
“Remember that your failure to adhere to the standards in testing and certifying these categories of drivers as competent to use our roads will result in unqualified persons gaining access to vehicles they do not have the competence and skills to operate, thereby contributing to carnage on our roads,” he said.
Mr Semevo disclosed that another group of examiners were being trained in riding examination for operators of motorcycles to reduce accidents related to that means of transportation and sustain employment opportunities in that field.
The Board Chairman of the Authority, Mr Frank Davies, thanked the West African Transport Academy for partnering the DVLA to equip the examiners with the needed skills to effectively assess and handle drivers of HGVs.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH